Watched Jun 07, 2012
Ryan O'Reilly’s review:
Prometheus (2012) Review - No Spoilers.
Prometheus is latest film from director Ridley Scott, marred by the discussion of is it or isn’t it a prequel to his 1979 Sci-Fi thriller Alien, set it up to inevitably be compared to that instalment of the series. With its story points kept mostly under wraps, the discussion did nothing but help the viral marketing campaign of one of the summers most anticipated blockbusters.
First off, if you’re looking for a action filled sci-fi in the form of the Alien sequal Aliens, (not directed by Scott, but James Cameron) then you’re looking in the wrong place. Also, comparisons to the origional Alien film by Scott, are lazy and pointless, especially when used a criticism. Spurred by the massive leap in technology and CGI, this adventure epic draws on unexplored plot points of the original and hopes to flesh them out in order to create a broader and more complete picture of the universe of which Alien is set in, not to create another claustrophobic thriller.
The first thing you’ll notice about the film was the not so conservative effort to portray the beauty of landscapes, especially in an almost useless opening scene that portrays the beauty of rural Scotland with precision arial shots. This theme continues throughout, with obvious intent to expand and explore the vast universe. Just like the popular notion of the universe has changed since 1979, this film shows this visually and also through the ideas portrayed throughout the film. With the update in technology, the only real bugging inconsistency with the universe is that this instalment is quite obviously set before Alien, yet the spaceships in the respective films are worlds apart in terms of technology. But you could hardly ask Scott to dumb down the technology to a non-graphic user interface just to please this criticism.
From the get go you get a dose of the versatility of the actors involved and the almost perfect casting that went into Prometheus. With Michael Fassbender’s brilliant portrayal of a life like android, down to very minute details like slight robotic movement that was unexplored by the other actors in the equivalent android roles in the franchise. As all the androids are flawed in some way, this time David (Fassbender) is certainly flawed in a different way than the others, creating a different dimensional relationship between him and the other characters. Noomi Rapace provides a perfect combination of strong and vulnerable for a centerpiece character and Idris Elba as a stereotypical but nuanced captain of the ship.
The main problem with Prometheus is that with the areas it tries to explore, it never fully realises its own potential, it instead briefly shows you ideas and hints at others. A film can do well to make its audience work things out for themselves, but Prometheus may have left a little too much unsaid. The film explores theories surrounding the creation of life, human in particular, and intertwines them with elements of the first alien film, however it leaves significant parts of the plot unmentioned. For instance, parts of the plot are only made clear after reading interviews with Scott himself, which shouldn’t be needed when it would’ve only taken one scene to explain on screen.
Overall Prometheus hits every mark you would expect a blockbuster sci-fi to, but it leaves you feeling like they could’ve done that little bit more. It also created frustratingly obvious character deaths, in the ilk of Indiana Jones, as underwhelming as the deaths in the Scream franchise where the audience implores the character not to go down to the basement alone. This film is a must see, especially for those intimately familiar with the Alien franchise like myself, you’ll notice many references and odes to those films that’ll leave you satisfied that they hit upon. The springboard Alien gave this film to succeed was not wasted in the slightest, and despite a few niggles, most should enjoy this film thoroughly.